The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has been awarded the 2016 Poverello Medal, the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s highest non-academic honor.
In a ceremony at the school Oct. 11, 2016, ACNUSA Chairman George J. Marlin accepted the award on behalf of the organization, saying the award “truly honors the men and women, the bishops, priests and religious who battle for their lives every day in countries like Syria and Iraq and wherever the faith is threatened.”
The pontifical foundation joins the company of distinguished previous recipients of the Poverello Medal, including St. Teresa of Calcutta, Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, and the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Aid to the Church in Need reflects St. Francis’ great love of the poor and suffering,” said Franciscan University President Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, adding that school is pleased to award the honor “to an organization that has demonstrated such love and concern for the suffering Church.”
Mr. Marlin stressed that, with the rise of ISIS, Christianity is “at risk of disappearing from the lands of its birth.” ACN has the urgent mission, he said, “to let the world know of the situation in the Middle East.” Besides providing the persecuted and suffering Church in the region with humanitarian and pastoral support, the ACNUSA chairman said that the organization “has the calling of speaking up for those without a voice.”
In 2015, ACN committed $20M in providing Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon with shelter, food, medical and education for children and youth. Overall, the organization last year funded 6200 projects in 140 countries. The Church in Africa—blessed with rapid growth but having to cope with poverty and Islamic radicalism in Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan and elsewhere—received close to $30M in funding to meet various urgent needs of the Church, representing more than 3,000 projects.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN) www.acnmalta.org (Malta)